DUI/DWI Penalties Vary From State to State
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 30, 2014 – The consequences for DUI/DWI vary from state to state and if anyone is injured or killed, the penalties escalate.
“Make certain you clearly understand the laws in the state where you live, as each state has its own set of laws dealing with DUI/DWI. This is not to say that the actual blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is different. It is 0.08 in every state, although there are calls to reduce the level to 0.05,” explained Lakeland criminal defense attorney Thomas C. Grajek.
First-time offenders are not necessarily subjected to the full brunt of the law – a fact that is related to the severity of the offense. However, those with prior convictions or a demonstrated record of DUI/DWI may find themselves facing significantly higher penalties than those without, whether or not their priors involved an injury or accident.
In Florida, DUI is a serious offense that triggers mandatory penalties. When arrested, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) suspends a driver’s license for six to 18 months depending on the facts of the case. Penalties can increase when a driver blows well over 0.08, refuses to take a breath test or possesses a negative driver’s history. The DUI citation issued on arrest is also a temporary driver’s license for 10 days, if the driver is eligible. At the end of 10 days, the administrative suspension of a driver’s license is effective.
The parameters of police-issued DUI/DWI charges shift from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If a police officer feels an individual is inebriated, the officer may take him or her into custody and charge them with a basic DUI/DWI. However, If a car accident is also involved, law enforcement may need to prove the suspected drunk driver’s BAC was 0.08 or over by administering a blood or breath test. In other jurisdictions, the police must prove a driver was drunk and that because the driver was drunk, he or she caused an accident.
Every state may order that victims receive restitution if someone driving under the influence injured them. Any victims have the right to attend a DUI/DWI driver’s trial and speak at his or her sentencing.
“Never discuss why you were drinking with the police. Those details are only for your criminal defense attorney. Make it a point to call one as soon as you can if you are arrested,” Grajek suggested.